One of the most entertaining races of the season spurred some of the most thought-provoking inquiries I’ve received this year. Here’s to hoping Michigan provides us with the same on-track action and off-track queries from you fans at home.
Without further ado, let’s delve right into the mailbag:
Q: Hello. I have a blind friend I am trying to get to understand NASCAR road racing, but I have not been successful in describing it to him, as he still doesn’t understand it. He remembers seeing road racing before his loss of sight, but that was maybe 15 years ago when I did not know him, and he was not into racing as much nor was road racing as big as it is now.
How would you describe road racing NASCAR style? Thank you. – R.W. Johnson
A: This is a difficult question to answer, as I have minimal experience with the blind, so I asked some of my Frontstretch brethren hoping for some guidance. Here’s what they had to say:
Jeff Meyer: “I would take my blind friend for a really fast ride on the curviest road I could find, and tell him that is just 1/10th of the real feeling!”
Close. I thought of that one, too.
Kim DeHaven: “Bring him to Inwood, West Virginia, and travel Henshaw Road.”
I am assuming Henshaw Road is akin to Highway 421 in Wilkes County, eh Kim?
While those were, uh, well, entertaining, I don’t think any of them quite cover it. My thoughts: A ride on a roller coaster is the only way I can think to physically help him understand. Not one of the new slick ones, either; I’m talking about an old rickety wooden one that throws you all over the place and practically jars your teeth out. The herky-jerky force of “The Beast” at King’s Island in Cincinnati has to be comparable (insert Aaron Fike joke here).
A verbal explanation: A blur of color, sound and speed that snakes, skids, bangs and, at times, flies in every direction for three solid hours on a track not wide enough to safely hold three cars side-by-side. And you’ve got to throw in the part about all four wheels not necessarily being on the ground at all times.
I truly hope one of these helps, R.W., and be sure to give my best to your friend.
Q: Finally! NASCAR got one right! I thought for sure that NASCAR would fine or penalize Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya but for a change, they let the incident blow over without so much as a slap on the wrist. Maybe there is hope after all! – Mac27
A: I, too, assumed the sanctioning body would drop the hammer in response to its drivers not projecting an upstanding representation of the sport. I guess in being consistently inconsistent in its rulings, NASCAR finally got one right!
Q: My boys and I had this discussion at our local watering hole and I thought I’d ask you, Matt. Had those two actually gone at it, who would you take: Harvick or Montoya? (I’ll only share your response with them if you agree with my take. They don’t know I’ve written). – PhillyFan
A: Tough call. Harvick likes to grandstand (see: Richmond ’03, Bristol Busch race ’02) and most likely would not have approached Montoya were there not TV cameras to cater to or officials and a teammate to break the ruckus up before it got too far.
In one respect, Harvick reminds me of my good buddy Mega. Being a bit slight in stature in high school (thus the nickname), Mega made sure his mouth made up for any physical deficiencies, which got us into more scuffles, Anyway, the difference between the two is that ol’ Mega wasn’t afraid to walk the walk, while I don’t see Kevin picking a fight without a posse.
I can’t speak to Montoya’s track record in the post-race fisticuffs department as much as I can to Harvick’s, but he just seems the type that would gladly take it out back, away from the glare of both cameras and officials. Because of that, I’ll take his feistiness and lower center of gravity sans helmet over Harvick. And I’d pay admission to see it.
Q: Is there anyone besides Scott Wimmer and Sterling Marlin in line for the Furniture Row ride? I see they are both supposed to run in select races this year, and wondered if this was an audition or just a chance for them to race. Also, are they still planning on running two full-time cars next year?*
Save Herman!! – Herm0078
A: I talked to one of Kenny’s PR folks on Tuesday, and she told me that the team has made no further driver decisions past Bristol (Wimmer will be in the car at Michigan; Marlin at BMS). As for next season, the team wants to add a second car but, as per usual, it all hinges on securing sponsorship.
It doesn’t appear I have to tell you this, Herm, but you can get your KWall updates at www.kennywallace.com.
That’s it for this week, gang. Keep the fingers crossed your driver gets good gas mileage up in Michigan this weekend!